With the holiday shopping rush in full swing this, more than 71 million consumers are expected to grab online deals, making it one of the busiest days for e-commerce giants like Amazon.
To help manage the rush, the company is using artificial intelligence — AI — to offer customers even faster deliveries.
Amazon is boasting its quickest delivery time yet, saying that packages are being prepared for dispatch within 11 minutes of an order placement at same-day facilities. That pace is an hour faster than next-day or two-day centers.
"It's like our Super Bowl, we practice for it for months in advance," Scot Hamilton, Amazon's vice president of Planning and Routing Technology, said about Thanksgiving weekend.
"I kind of like to think about AI as like oxygen," he said. "You don't feel it, you don't see it. It's what makes the magic happen."
Amazon uses AI to analyze and plot delivery routes, adapting in real-time to traffic and weather conditions. It also uses artifical intelligence to forecast daily demand for over 400 million products, predicting where in the world they are likely to be ordered. This allows faster delivery, as delivery stations go from handling 60,000 packages a day to over 110,000 during the holiday season.
"AI will touch just about every piece of our supply chain," said Tye Brady, Amazon Robotics' chief technologist.
Amazon's new system, Sequoia, helps the company identify and store inventory 75% faster while reducing order processing time by 25%, which helps ensure gifts ordered on Cyber Monday arrive even faster.
Amid worries about possible job displacement due to AI, Amazon said AI and automation have led to the creation of 700 new job types related to robotics alone.
However, a Goldman Sachs report from March warns of significant global labor market disruption due to automation, potentially impacting 300 million jobs.
Amazon said it's been using machine learning and AI for more than 25 years. Brady said he gets questions about AI replacing actual human jobs a lot but views AI as a "beautiful ballet of people and machines working together in order to do a job."
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